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Nitrogen is a colourless, tasteless, odourless, mainly diatomic gas that makes up about 78% of the air we breathe. Chemically it's almost inert, and as well as being a critical part of human DNA it can also often be an essential part of the DNA make-up of a piston ring. For example, titanium nitride and chromium nitride are popular piston ring coatings. Applied to the bore-contacting outer surface of steel rings, such surfaces are intended to reduce engine friction and reduce wear, but...

Midget pistons part of a longevity boost

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Stanton Racing Engines in Nicholasville, Kentucky, is known for its USAC Midget and Sprint engines. While once predominantly a Mopar/Dodge house, three years ago the company began to build/rebuild Toyota USAC Midget engines, taking over the work from California-based Toyota Racing Development (TRD). Erik Milholland manages Stanton's racing division, and travels with the USAC circuit, handling any powertrain issues its customers might have. The Toyota and Mopar engines have differing...


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The use of phosphate conversion surface treatments, usually referred to as 'phosphating', are common in industrial applications, often serving as an underlayer for further coating processes such as painting. However, they have a number of applications in race engines and transmissions where they are not combined with further coating processes. In these applications they are applied in order to improve lubrication or for corrosion resistance. In terms of lubrication, phosphate...

Transmission dynos

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In previous issues of RET-Monitor we have looked at the wide variety of dynamometers designed to measure engine power output or gauge the parasitic losses of particular components. However, engines are not the only area of a racecar that can benefit from dynamometer testing. In the upper levels of motorsport, every tiny performance gain counts, and the transmission and final drive is an area where considerable gains can be made. Enter the transmission dyno, the most direct method of...

Formula One gearboxes

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Formula One transmissions are the most advanced in the racing world, with an unparallel combination of performance, weight and packaged size. A key part of the gearbox is the casing, as it forms not only a housing for the gearbox internals but also acts as an integral part of the car's structure. Here I will look at some of the construction methods and materials used to create these casing. Magnesium:Magnesium has long been a favoured material for gearbox casings, thanks to its useful...